Live In Harmony With Each Other
Romans 12:16 Sound advice for Christian living from 2,000 years ago
“Live in harmony with each other. Don’t be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don’t think you know it all!”
Romans 12:16 NLT
I’ve expressed my fondness for the Book of Proverbs before; it’s full of advice that is as relevant now as it was when the book was written almost 3,000 years ago in the Old Testament days of King Solomon. From the New Testament, the Book of Romans Chapter 12 could be considered “Proverbs for Christians”.
The Enduring Word app I like to use for research breaks this chapter into three sections: “The foundation for Christian Living”, “Living out the spiritual gifts God has given”, and “A series of short instructions on living like a Christian with others.” Verse 16, which I’m using for today’s devotional, is in that last section.
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Let’s break this verse into its three short component sentences:
Live in harmony with each other - Here, the Apostle Paul was advising the early Christians in Rome to avoid conflict with others, both within and outside the church. The NASB translation uses different phrasing - “be of the same mind toward one another” - and David Guzik’s Enduring Word commentary explains this perfectly: “It is a simple command to be considerate of the feelings of others instead of waiting for them to be considerate of your feelings.” What Roman citizen wouldn’t want to be friends and be impressed with a person who considerate of their feelings?
Don’t be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people - Paul reminds the Roman Christians to be humble, emulating the life and teachings of Jesus. By associating with “ordinary people” like their neighbors in Rome, the early Christians could demonstrate that didn’t think of themselves as better than anyone else - another way to be considerate of the feelings of others.
And don’t think you know it all! - This short admonishment points out that although the Roman Christians might have been trying to act humble, they honestly didn’t know everything and had an infinitely long way to go to actually be like Jesus.
This simple verse has so much to teach today’s Christians! Always be considerate to others so they know you as a good person. Never think you’re better than everyone else just because you’re a “good Christian” - enjoy being around people who are different than you and let them learn about Christian living by your example. And if you’re smart, talented, or have memorized half of the 66 books of the Bible, resist the temptation to show off. Be humble. Quit trying to impress, argue with, or correct others, and instead show your love for them by letting them tell or teach you something instead.
The contents of this verse provided sound advice nearly 2,000 years ago. As Christians today, we should strive to follow this ageless advice in order to influence others in the secular world with the love of Jesus Christ.
Heaven On Wheels Daily Prayer:
Heavenly Father, I thank You for reaching out to Saul on the road to Damascus, so that he could teach us to be better followers of Christ. Keep me focused on loving my neighbors by being considerate of them, let me be a friend to those who are different from me, and teach me to emulate the humility of Jesus. In His name I pray, AMEN.
Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007, 2013 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. lockman.org
Guzik, David Enduring Word Commentaries, © Enduring Word Ministries.
Steve, thank you so much. This was definitely a message I needed to hear.